10 Massive Changes Nightfall Brings to Dark Souls

10 Massive Changes Nightfall Brings to Dark Souls

As we covered earlier this week, legendary modder Grimrukh has produced one of the most ambitious mods for Dark Souls to date. But unlike previous mods that have looked to expand on the already sprawling lore of the series, Nightfall goes one step further.

This huge expansion starts after the chosen undead faces Gwyn, and chooses not to rekindle the first flame. We know that this plunges Lordran into darkness, but Nightfall seeks to explore what happens next.

This really is a completely fresh take on a game that first launched over a decade ago, and is testament to the passion and love with which the community still approaches this incredible title. In this article, we take a look at just how much more content Nightfall delivers to Dark Souls, with 10 key changes this epic mod delivers.

1. Characters and Classes

The first thing players of Nightfall will notice is that the classes on offer are completely different from those in the vanilla game. Whilst the distribution of stats broadly mirror the allocations in the original, the classes are named, dressed, and armed entirely differently.

Key standouts are the Exile, who seems to have a pot on her head and a curiously novel looking katana, and the Royal Knight, a model that looks suspiciously similar to the Lothric Knights from Dark Souls 3.

There is of course something for everyone here. The Runic Knight boasts a straight 16 points across strength and dexterity – your go-to quality build starter. Vagabond looks beastly, with a cat for a hat and a bunch of points in strength and faith. Interloper is clearly int build material, reminiscent of Bloodborne’s hunters. Protector is your classic paladin, while Destitute, Wretch, Failure, and Fool all sport Soul Level one and furry hot pants – no doubt placeholders for the full release.

2. Starting Point in Nightfall

The next big surprise is that you begin your adventure in the Demon Ruins, a far cry from the luxury and relative safety of Firelink Shrine. It is curious to awaken in such an inhospitable biome. The choice is clearly a bold statement from the developers, being of course the entrance to the ill-fated Lost Izalith section of the base game, an area that has come under more criticism than any other since the launch of the game back in September 2011.

Then again, no Souls game starts out that well. Abandoned to die in a prison, stuck in a land betwixt, discarded down a ravine, or receiving dubious medical treatment in a back-alley clinic. Perhaps waking up next to flowing torrents of lava is par for the course.

3. Nightfall Starting Equipment

Just like the classes, the usual suspects are notably missing from the line-up of starting equipment which you’ll get to see once you’ve finished maxing out the character creator sliders. Gone is the old faithful Estus flask, instead replaced by the Umbrus Effigy, which fills with restorative light at a wellspring. Wellsprings, we might add, replace bonfires too – perhaps immediately highlighting the departures from the base game the player can expect from this novel experience.

A new “Coiled” Darksign replaces the standard Darksign. The Prismic Bottle makes an entrance, described as a “sharp edged bottle for powerful essences”. Perhaps a nod to Elden Ring‘s Flask of Wondrous Physick mechanic? Time will tell.

4. Dual-Wielding – No Heals, Much Fast

Perhaps the most interesting mechanic shift in Nightfall is what happens when you two-hand your weapon…or press Y at least. Your character seems to buff themselves, at which point they exhume a black mist about their presence. Movement is noticeably faster and damage clearly greater.

This is all well and good, but use of this buff (which seems universal among the various classes) prevents you from using the aforementioned Umbrus Effigy. So, no healing from that at least. Although, whether this prevents other sources of life regeneration is yet to be revealed.

Then there is the lightning-fast dash, which has completely replaced rolling it seems. Do this one-handed and it is reminiscent of the quick dash employed in Bloodborne. But attempt it whilst buffed and the distance is greatly increased – much more like a ‘blink’ mechanic. It even has lightning bolts to match, too. But this isn’t the only inspiration taken from FromSoft’s Eldritch epic…

5. Health Rally Mechanic

That’s right. Just like Bloodborne, attack an enemy after taking damage within a sufficiently short time window and you’ll get some of your depleted health back. How exactly this performs will need further exploration by the community. However, when combined with the increase in attack speed and the quick dashes, this really takes Dark Souls in a completely new direction.

We suspect there will be a lot less reliance on shields in this mod, especially if they engender passivity. Which is good news, because it’s not just the player that moves faster in Nightfall.

6. Nightfall Bosses

It seems too, according to what we’ve seen so far in the demo, that Nightfall is going to come with a whole host of new bosses against which you can test this altogether speedier playstyle. Within minutes of starting the game, and much like the majority of FromSoft games of this ilk, the player encounters their first boss; The Blistering Demon.

Looking much like a Taurus Demon that’s undergone some serious liposuction, the first half of the encounter goes as expected. Telegraphed swings and altogether encumbered movement of these towering infernos is what we’ve come to expect. But, at half health, the pace of the encounter shifts up significantly. One fiery buff later, the attacks become far less predictable. The demon moves with a speed altogether unbecoming for a beast of its size. This is, for all extent and purpose, a Bloodborne fight, and it’s incredibly encouraging of what is yet to come in the full game ahead.

7. Enemies and Equipment

Just like the bosses, you’ll encounter a bunch of new enemies on your journey through this darkened Lordran. From what we have seen in the demo, the new foes are, again, more agile than the usual Dark Souls fodder. Multi-limbed, fire-breathing humanoids attack on sight, and at pace. Even the Demon Ruin worms have had a boost of adrenalin…and steroids judging by one encounter in particular.

Further into the ruins, a demon tree-headed enemy runs straight into the lava, and, further still, a lightning-spitting wyvern impedes progress out of this magma hell.

As the player finally emerges into Darkroot Garden, the good old woodland folk remain. But a slew of DLC enemies make their appearances, and maniacal laughing warns of a greater threat yet deeper into the woods. This is Dark Souls, but not as we know it.

8. Attack and Other Animations in Nightfall

Nightfall has changed up some of those pervasive animations that many thought ought to have been altered. Perhaps another nod to some of the misplaced criticism that From has come under for its upcoming release Elden Ring?

Almost the first thing you see is a door open, in a thoroughly un-FromSoft style, segments of the door disappearing vertically in some pseudo-sci-fi fashion. Is it better? It’s different, certainly.

There are, also, some more interesting changes to attack animations. In one playthrough, we witnessed the dex character class, the Exile, exhibit a rather unique roundhouse. Whilst rather ineffective for fending off the oncoming hoards, it certainly looks like fun.

9. Weapons and Armour

As was, of course, immediately apparent when initially choosing classes, this game is not holding back on new armour or weapons. Each of the new character models looks brand new, though a decidedly familiar armour set on the Runic Knight harks back to everyone’s favourite dragon slayer. The Vagabond, too, has a fantastically chíc cat-hat that will no doubt be all the rage in the next Age of Fire. If Nightfall has put this much into the initial sets on offer, what could lie ahead in the countless hours of gameplay yet to be fully explored?

The game hasn’t neglected weapons, either. Far from it. The aforementioned Exile has a new katana, the Tachiborn of a broken Odachi, with broad stability offered by a long handle and shorter blade giving it considerable strength despite its weakened appearance. The Royal Knight has a magnificent looking greatsword, whilst the Interloper holds what looks like a new class of rapier. Better still, the seemingly under-levelled, as-yet-unfinished classes all sport what can only be described as a fork. Fascinating.

10. Other Items

On top of the starting items, there are a whole bunch of new and intriguing inventory additions up for grabs in Nightfall. Kill the familiar yet distinctly premature Titanite demon and you get…Demon Titanite. Obviously. This is an entirely new type of titanite and presumably applicable to certain, perhaps demon weapons?

The player is also awarded “Gwyn’s Pendant” at the beginning of the playthrough. Gwyn’s Pendant is described as “a locket containing the remnant of the first flame”. Then there’s the Chaos Firebomb which looks to behave more like a pyromancy than a throwable item. All of this is discoverable in the first area of Nightfall. And, if the rest of the mod follows suit, we can only imagine what else is in store for the inquisitive player.

Time is Convoluted in Lordran

So there you have it. 10 changes that are far from meagre that Nightfall brings to this much-loved classic. But before we go, there’s one last thing to touch on. Upon starting a new playthrough, the following message greets the player; “12 cinders remain”. Later, after what appears to be an hour of in-game time, the player receives a similar message, but now only 11 cinders remain.

Grimrukh himself has said that inspiration has come from many of the existing Souls titles, but also, curiously from Majora’s Mask, a game that, should the player fail to complete in a set period of time, would see the moon crash into the world and take all life from it.

Could this be a nod to the final, dying embers of the first flame left to ebb away? There’s definitely something curious going on here. And, combined with all those other changes, it is something we cant wait to jump into and find out for ourselves.

Are you planning on checking out Dark Souls: Nightfall? Let us know in the comments below, or if you’ve played it already and have a spicy take to share, we’d love to hear it.

ABG Opinion